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At the young age of eleven I decided I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. For some reason I never seriously wavered from that path and devoted much of my time to learning and improving my skills. In high school I discovered metalsmithing and was immediately enamored with the material and processes involved. I had always had this sense in my head that it took big, powerful industrial tools to shape metal. When I discovered that with just the power of my arm and a hair thin saw blade I could cut shapes with great precision I was hooked. Shortly thereafter I became enthralled with how the humble hammer could form metal into almost any shape desired.
After an extended 12 year college “career” I finally earned my BFA with an emphasis in metalsmithing from Grand Valley State University. It is at Grand Valley that I discovered the raising process I use to form my vessels from flat sheet, still using that humble hammer and the power of my arm.
In 2003 I finally achieved that goal of my young eleven year old self and was able to sustain full-time career as an artist. It was not an easy dream to achieve, but for me it was worth seeking. I now spend my days at my Michigan home/studio working to bring objects of beauty, light, and inspiration into the world.
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Barbara was raised in Chicago, Illinois and studied jewelry and metalsmithing as an undergraduate student. The addition and love for enameling, in combination with metalworking and jewelry making, began during graduate school with continued exploration during the following ten years of university teaching. Barbara left the university with a desire to spend her professional life as a full-time studio artist. She spent the next twenty years creating and marketing her enameled jewelry in galleries and by participating in prestigious juried craft shows such as the American Craft Council Craft Shows and the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show. Her work can be seen in publications such as The Art of Enameling, 500 Enamel Objects, 500 Brooches and The Penland Book of Metalworking. Barbara now focuses her studio practice on researching and innovating enamel processes, preparation for teaching workshops and creating very special enameled jewelry and objects that utilize her well developed enameling and metalworking skills.
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“My jewelry relates to the abstracted botanical form and the discipline of line drawing, reminding the wearer of the first forms of spring or the last of winter. “
Born into a family of makers, Paulette’s childhood activities of drawing and fixing things in her dad’s auto garage, formed her passion for tools, metalsmithing and jewelry making. Growing up, surrounded by Hudson River school landscape paintings of her great grandfather, the importance of the natural world persists in the narrative of her work. The spark of making and curiosity took hold and Werger pursued art as her career.
Werger’s emphasis of design strips away excess and gets to the core of the image, surface, and the mechanics of function. She works with silver, high-karat gold, ethically sourced, gems and pearls. Torch-fired enamel adds pops of color to her neckpieces, chains and brooches.
Paulette works directly with materials using the classical techniques of fusing, forging, forming and fabricating to create each piece by hand.
Paulette Werger is an upstate NY native living in New Hampshire. She received her B.S. in Painting and Sculpture from the College of Saint Rose and Skidmore College, NY, and her M.F.A. in Art Metal from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches metal techniques nationally and online. From her studio at AVA Gallery and Art Center, Paulette creates jewelry, flat ware and vessels.
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watch the Interview with Paulette!
“My chisel is the river, carving through the rock. My hammer is metamorphosis, compressing and deforming. My stamp tool is uplift. My file is erosion, making the patterns visible like the layers of rock in the grand canyon.”
Anne Wolf has been teaching jewelry/metalwork classes and creating custom mokume-gane wedding rings, jewelry and one-of-a-kind metal art objects since 1991. She earned her MFA in Jewelry/Metals in 1999 at San Diego State University. After ten years of teaching part time (jewelry/metals and art history) at various colleges in California, she opened her own studio and school - Anneville Studio. In 2007 the direction of her work changed when she came across a group of mokume artists working in Northern California. With them she learned to fuse, forge and pattern mokume gane using traditional Japanese methods, and from that point forward her work became focused on this technique. Wolf has been a SNAG presenter, and taught workshops at venues such as Idyllwild, Mendocino, and Metal Arts Guild Georgia. She has had her work shown across the U.S. and in international venues such as the Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus in Hanau, Germany and the Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum in Tsubame, Japan. She currently teaches both online and in-person workshops on all aspects of mokume gane.
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watch the Interview with Anne!
Since 2013 Bette Barnett has devoted her work to exploring and experimenting with steel and gold. After learning to fuse gold and its alloys to steel, Bette has continued to perfect additional techniques and processes for steel jewelry, including Keum Boo on steel, fusing alternative metals and alloys to steel, etching steel, fusing powdered metals to steel and fusing gold to non-traditional mild steel forms such as wire, perforated sheet and woven steel mesh. Bette is focusing much of her current work on enameling of woven steel mesh.
The Santa Fe Symposium selected Bette to create a research paper on steel jewelry entitled “Steel Jewelry—Expanding the Horizons of Steel with Gold,” which was presented at the May 2022 conference. Bette has also published articles on steel and gold jewelry in Lapidary Journal: Jewelry Artist. She is in the process of authoring a book entitled Creating Steel Jewelry, which is scheduled for publication by Artisan Ideas in late 2023.
Bette teaches private lessons (both virtually and live) in her San Diego studio and offers virtual and in-person group workshops throughout the U.S. In 2023, she launched the Steel Jewelry Online Learning Series, a lineup of 10 focused online workshops on various techniques related to steel jewelry. She administers Steel Artists (facebook.com/groups/steeljewelry), a Facebook group designed to foster a community of artists who work in steel.